I’m about to use a really Christian phrase, so prepare yourself – it’s been “one of those seasons.”
I feel like I tripped and fell really hard, and now I’m getting punched mercilessly as I lie helpless. It’s a great feeling (obviously I’m being sarcastic – it’s tremendously awful.)
Have you ever had a succession of undoubtably bad things happen in a short period of time? That’s been March for me. My brother gets into a serious car accident. I’m 1,000 miles away, unable to support my family. My good friend decides to move to Nashville. Another friend I love dearly barely speaks to me anymore.
Part of me shies away from even mentioning this stuff, because frankly, it’s depressing and no one wants to walk away sad. But let’s be honest: a lot of us are really hurting right now.
Maybe you’re struggling to leave your bed in the morning, not because you’re tired but because the idea of getting dressed and handling what life has for you today is painful even to contemplate.
I read a book recently that discussed the juxtaposition of social media. We see only the best on Facebook and Instagram: our cute outfits, the most talented and beautiful people – all on a constant loop. That standard of perfection leaves the rest of us sad, lonely, and unwilling to try anything new because there’s already a slew of more talented people out there and the proof is right at our fingertips.
But here’s the thing: bad parts of life are real and – let’s face it – inevitable. If we’re going to face awful stuff at some point, if bad things are simply a part of life, why shouldn’t we get help when we need it? Why can’t we say things are bad right now, but that’s ok?
I’m learning to see my problems not as my fault but as my responsibility. I am the sole person in charge of how I react to situations that are out of my control. My friend is moving. I get to choose to be happy for him and celebrate his time in Houston, while being excited for what God has planned in his new city.
As believers in Christ, this takes on a whole new meaning. It requires us to shirk the millennial ideology that we deserve to be happy all the time and it gives us the proper perspective. In this jacked-up sinful world, yeah, things are going to suck sometimes. And yeah, that’s ok. We have the ability to keep loving, keep giving, keep going….even when we’re overwhelmed by our situation simply because Christ loves us.
If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve experienced the euphoria of loving and being loved in return, you know it’s gleeful, it’s nonsensical, it’s dangerously freeing. When you’re in love, you don’t think about the potential hazards…you just love. So it is with being loved by Christ. The more we receive his love, the more we realize that it’s ok if our love isn’t reciprocated 100% of the time. It’s ok if we’re misunderstood, if we’re left out in the rain, clutching a wilted umbrella, waiting for someone to show up. His love empowers us to give without getting a return on investment. If we give from the fullness of God, we lose nothing.
The crazy thing is, when you’re “not ok”, like me, you don’t have a God who tells you to be ok, ASAP. He doesn’t urge you to get back to work, because “people need you!” No, actually he says he can sympathize, because he knows pain personally.
Hebrews 4:15 says,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”
So take heart and lean in. Pain is the process. You’re growing.